Saturday, 5 February 2011

My Venues - Key Questions

I've started to build some ideas for looking at venues. I was convinced there were almost no nice wedding venues in the West Midlands but after lots of searching (and some help from my mum!), I've found quite a few!

There are lots of different types of venues: country grandeur, city chic and quirky unique. I'm going to blog about all these different types of venue, linking in to venues all around the UK which fit into these ideas, but personally I'm looking for a venue with country grandeur. I want the long drive, the rolling hills, the grand country house with all the history and beautiful, romantic architecture.

Before I go to these venues, I've got my Bride Ideas notebook on me and a space to jot down some questions ready to ask the wedding coordinators. Here are some of my ideas for questions to ask:

  • Maximum capacity
    This is an important question because it also says how many people you can invite. If you're having a 300 guest wedding extravaganza, a venue that only holds 60 guests isn't going to work for you.
    Also ask how those guests are seated. A venue that recommends 60 guests but can hold 100 may use long tables instead of circle tables. If you have your heart set on circle tables, this type of venue wouldn't be for you.
  • Exclusive use
    Are you happy to share your venue with another bride? Some venues are exclusive because they don't have room for another wedding, other venues charge for exclusivity.
  • Car parking
    This might sound like a boring question, but you will have a lot of people attending your special day. Making sure they have sufficient space to park their cars is just one small step into making the day enjoyable for everyone.
  • Confetti
    Does the venue allow confetti to be thrown? Is it certain types of confetti? Are you allowed to sprinkle confetti on the tables? Some venues are listed and don't allow confetti to be thrown.
  • Staying over
    After a long day, you may want to collapse into a hotel bed with the prospect of a hotel breakfast the next day. Can you stay over at your venue? It would mean putting off the tidying up, moving things about and final payments until the next day.
  • Bride and Groom Room
    Is there a room the bride and groom could have a private five minutes? It's a busy day, you might want five minutes to just take a break. If you can stay over, this might be your hotel room, or if not staying over there might be a spare room for a sit down and a drink.
  • Quiet spaces
    At the end of the night, when the music is loud, is there a place your older guests can go to be quiet? When looking for venues, I have discounted venues that didn't have a separate room or space for my older guests. Not everyone likes loud music, and to have a good atmosphere at your wedding it's important to make sure everyone has a good time. At my friend's wedding in the summer, guests were standing outside or sitting on the garden furniture outside, would that be possible for your guests?
  • Menus and Prices per Head
    Ask for some sample menus to get some good ideas of the type of food you will get for your budget. Look at the prices per head and what that includes. Per head, your price could include red carpets, drinks, canapés, and a room for the night. Compare that to other prices where drinks are separate or extra.
  • Carriages
    Some venues have carriages at 12:30, others will go to 1:00am. Some venues, such as hotels, will have carriages at 12:30 but allow you to continue the party in the hotel bar until you feel like going to bed.
  • Cancellation policy
    Of course we are not going to cancel but if we do, how much of the deposit will we lose? Things happen, make sure if anything does happen that you know what costs you will need to pay. Read all your terms and conditions!
  • Payment Dates
    There will probably be dates when you need to make certain amounts of payments with a final payment the morning after your wedding, if you sleep over.
  • Marriage licence
    Do you want to get married at your reception venue? You will need to make sure that the venue has a marriage licence so that this is popular.
  • The less common things:
    If you'd like fireworks at your wedding, Chinese lanterns or an arrival by helicopter, remember to ask your venue if they allow these.
I'm taking these questions and ideas with me as I go to visit venues and I'll write a review of the ones I'm going to see. I'm only looking for myself in the West Midlands, but I'll try to recommend venues all over the country. 

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